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Kelowna advances to Memorial Cup title game

by Staff /

Justin Kirkland (Nashville Predators) had two goals and an assist, and Rourke Chartier (San Jose Sharks) had two goals to help the Kelowna Rockets defeat the host Quebec Remparts 9-3 on Friday in the semifinals of the 2015 Memorial Cup at Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City, Quebec.

Joshua Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets) and Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers) each had one goal and two assists for the Rockets, the champions of the Western Hockey League. Chance Braid and 2015 NHL Draft prospects Tyson Baillie and Cole Linaker each had a goal and an assist. Goaltender Jackson Whistle, also a 2015 draft prospect, made 20 saves. The Rockets outshot the Remparts 44-23.

2015 Memorial Cup schedule/results

All times ET

May 22: Quebec 4, Kelowna 3
May 23: Oshawa 4, Rimouski 3
May 24: Oshawa 5, Quebec 4 (OT)
May 25: Kelowna 7, Rimouski 3
May 26: Oshawa 2, Kelowna 1
May 27: Rimouski 4, Quebec 0
May 28: Tiebreaker: Quebec 5, Rimouski 2
May 29: Semifinal: Kelowna 9, Quebec 3
May 31: Championship: Kelowna vs. Oshawa, 7:00 p.m. (NHLN-US)

Kelowna will play the Ontario Hockey League champion Oshawa Generals in the title game Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US). Oshawa won 2-1 when the teams played Tuesday.

"We want redemption after that," Kirkland said on Sportsnet. "Wasn't our best game against them. We'll be coming out guns blazing and we'll be ready to go."

Adam Erne (Tampa Bay Lightning) had a goal and an assist for Quebec. Anthony Duclair (Arizona Coyotes) and Dmytro Timashov also scored. Timashov is No. 92 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 draft.

Remparts goaltender Zachary Fucale (Montreal Canadiens) made 35 saves.

Quebec was playing for the third straight night after splitting two games with the Rimouski Oceanic. Kelowna had been off since Tuesday.

"I thought it was a slow start for us," Kelowna coach Dan Lambert told the Memorial Cup website. "Once Braid got us on the board I think we really started to bare down and make things difficult for them. Fatigue played a big part in this game."

Erne finished a 2-on-1 rush to score 3:11 into the game and give Quebec an early lead but Kelowna scored the next five, starting with Braid's goal at 9:51 of the first period.

Draisaitl's power-play goal gave Kelowna a 2-1 lead 17 seconds into the second period, and then Kirkland scored twice in a 43-second span early in the period. Draisaitl assisted on Kirkland's goal at 3:23 and then Kirkland scored through traffic and past Fucale at 4:06. Morrissey's slap shot from the point made it 5-1 at 16:46 of the second.

Duclair scored 21 seconds into the third period to get the Remparts within 5-2 but that was as close as they would get. Chartier finished a 2-on-1 rush to make it 6-2 at 2:17, and 37 seconds later Linaker took the puck from Fucale behind the Remparts net, skated in front and scored at 2:54 to make it 7-2.

Timashov's power-play goal at 6:45 of the third made it 7-3, but Baillie scored a power-play goal at 13:26 to extend Kelowna's lead to 8-3. Chartier's second goal made it 9-3 at 14:48.

The goals were the first of the tournament for Chartier, who tied for the WHL playoff lead with 13 goals in 16 games. He also was third in the WHL in the regular season with 48 goals in 58 games.

"Anytime it's nice to contribute," Chartier said on Sportsnet. "Especially before the final. It's nice to get a couple."

A win Sunday would give Oshawa its fifth Memorial Cup title and first since 1990. It also would give it more championships than any team in Canadian Hockey League history; Oshawa and the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League each has won four. Kelowna's only Memorial Cup title came in 2004.

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